Category — Connection to Research Topic

Bridging the gap of culture and education between non-indigenous and Indigenous groups with technology

Indigenous people hope for a better life may be seen in other aspirations other than through education itself. While education is a necessity it does not seem to offer much hope as their forefathers in spite of their learning experiences, though limited it may have been, never experienced success without numerous hardships and struggle, to level of perceived success. Limitations and challenging factors such as finance, access to basic needs and limited exposure to other non-indigenous cultures have no doubt kept indigenous groups from aspiring for educational achievement in more modern forms, which may be secondary to escaping hardship through hardwork and dedication to cultural practices and oral traditions passed down through many generations.

Technology for the indigenous group is seen as being “out there”  and not crucial for survival as viewed by non-indigenous groups. Technology is not culturally relevant and therefore is not absorbed into the culture as readily as with with non-indigenous groups. The reliance on technology is viewed more on its ability to record and transmit culture and not on its ability to improve the way of life of the people or enhance their learning experiences. The hope of this assignment then will be to bridge the gap of culture and education between the two groups showing how technology can be used to both enhance cultural and learning experiences.

October 20, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal Students – Off Reserve

As I have stated before, the area that encompasses my school district has no reserve, no band school, no officially recognized territory. The numbers of students of aboriginal ancestry attending our schools is steadily increasing. The numbers of students of aboriginal ancestry graduating from our schools is low.

I decided this week to investigate education of aboriginal students off reserve. From my last posts and the direction that these posts will be taking it must be obvious by now that I am unsure as to my focus for research.

I stumbled upon a 2004 report by the C.D. Howe institute titled, Aboriginal Off Reserve – Education:Time for Action. The report focuses on British Columbia and uses Foundation Skills Assessment results to compare achievement of aboriginal and non aboriginal students. Also provided in the report are proposed reforms for Aboriginal primary and secondary education.

This publication was followed in 2008 by Understanding the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Gap in Student Performance.

Richards, J., & Vining, A. C.D. Howe Institute, (2004). Aboriginal off reserve education:time for action. Retrieved from

Richards, J., Hove, J., & Afolabi, K. C.D. Howe Institute, (2008). Understanding the aboriginal/non aboriginal gap in student performance:lesson from british columbia. Retrieved from

October 18, 2011   No Comments

Traditional Knowledge and Identity

I am focusing on the use of technology to document and preserve traditional knowledge and develop curriculum resources. Most of my posts are related to media in supporting an indigenous re-framing of identity and different ways media are being used to share and document traditional knowledge and deal with ownership issues. How different communities and groups have done this, and their successes and issues will be important feedback for any efforts we make up north.


Native Science

A website on Traditional Knowledge with links to other sites developed in Alaska with TK resources dealing with language, culture and the land.  The projects are aimed at documenting and preserving TK and developing curriculum resources for the state as well. There is a very good set of guidelines developed by a large number of stakeholders: GUIDELINES FOR RESPECTING CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE.

Alaskan Native Knowledge Network

Articles and resources dealing with traditional knowledge, culture and language  including curriculum and resources from all the language groups found in Alaska.


Indigenous Knowledge: Foundations for First Nations

A detailed article on the place of traditional knowledge in current identity, ecology and development issues from the University of Saskatchewan.


David Bouchard – Portrait of a Metis Writer

Video interview with David Bouchard, a well-known and much respected Metis writer and speaker. We have had David visit out school several times and he is a real champion for strong FN identity – not just Metis. His work is multimedia – writing, partnerships with artists, music – he is very inspiring to youth. Story as the vehicle of traditional knowledge.

Nokum is my Teacher

Most of his books are on line in some form. This book is about the Metis culture  and the importance of being open to sharing understanding and change.


Brenda Parlee Website:

Collects her research re traditional knowledge mainly in Alberta and the NWT as it impacts resource development, wildlife management and ecological issues. Some of her research has dealt with traditional knowledge issues in our community of Lutsel K’e, and issues of control in communication  and development.


Indian Country Today Media Network

Both US and Canadian sites with videos, blogs and news feeds on international issues from health to politics. The site speaks to solidarity among many ethnic and tribal identities on similar issues.










October 15, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal youth producing video games

This is the home page of project developed to teach game design to Aboriginal youth, and have them create a game based on their own context and experience. It was produced in partnership with the Owisokon Lahache of the Kahnawake Survival School. Part of the plan is to empower Aboriginal youth to see themselves as creators and builders, and the other part is to pass on knowledge from elders and preserve stories.

Does this clash? Not sure. Just finding more and more projects that seem to support the idea that Aboriginal designed new media can be an effective teaching tool, and a method of preservation.


October 10, 2011   No Comments

Contemporary Aboriginal art in Cyberspace

This is a link to the YouTube channel of contemporary Aboriginal artist sistagrlo. and this is her blog

I hope to speak with her about how she uses her presence in cyberspace to further her goals of Aboriginal identity and education about Aboriginal ideals and life in Australia.

Sometimes it is hard to get a hold of people in SecondLife, but I will post if I am able to speak with her.

Part of my research is to look at what value to education Aboriginal and Indigenous artists and creators see in their existences in cyberspace, so I want to speak with them directly as well as look at their work. Who do they see themselves as online?

October 2, 2011   No Comments

TimeTraveller TM

My partner and I underwater at my virtual land

My friend and I existing together in the virtual space of my cyber land.

One of the interesting developments in virtual worlds it the ability to create machinima, or films using the virtual world as the subject, setting, and actors. Using the virtual world means the director can create anything, in any space, in any time.

The link below is to a machinima created by An Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace Project A young man uses a fictional technology called TimeTraveller TM to visit places and spaces of his ancestors, and the colonization of his ancestral lands.

This machinima series seems to have two purposes. One, to provide some education to the rest of us about aboriginal history in North America; and two to provide some glimpse of a future man connecting with his deep past.

I would be interested to hear what you think of this concept, and whether or not this is a positive thing or a further erosion of tribal values and identity.

My own presence in virtual worlds biases me into thinking that this is a positive expression of identity.


October 2, 2011   No Comments

Connections to Reseach

My research interests currently lie in two areas  (I believe I will require a narrower focus).

1) resources for teachers/students at the intermediate (gr.7-8)  level to support indigenous education.  Online resources, websites, multimedia, video will be explored along with the use of mentor texts.  A focus may be on the residential school system in Ontario.

2) interactive resources/online resources which could be used for aboriginal students in Ontario to earn or recover credits.

An Aboriginal Education Strategy was launched in Ontario in 2007 with specific initiatives to support the learning and achievement of Aboriginal elementary and secondary students.   Part of the strategy  includes initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives among all students.

Within the strategy, initiatives include:

  • Supporting eight Alternative Secondary School Programs to address the learning and cultural needs of urban Aboriginal youth.  The programs are run through Native Friendship Centres and help students complete their secondary school diploma.
  • Developing and implementing curriculum resources for teachers to reach Aboriginal students and to teach all students about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, traditions and histories.
  • Developing effective strategies to engage First Nation, Métis and Inuit students living in large urban centres and meet their learning needs through the Urban Aboriginal Education Project. Three pilot projects are currently underway in Toronto, Barrie and Thunder Bay.
  • Providing support to school boards to develop policies for voluntary, confidential Aboriginal student self-identification. This will help school boards gather reliable data to support Aboriginal student achievement. More than 80 school boards and school authorities have adopted or are developing policies.
  • Helping colleges, universities and Aboriginal institutions develop programs and new curriculum and provide services to ensure that more Aboriginal students participate and graduate.



September 28, 2011   No Comments

Connecting Weblog to Research

The concept of technology being considered as something negative, i.e. something that may eradicate a culture, instead of helping preserve it, is a foreign concept to me. This is due to the fact that I’ve seen the impact technology has had on the atypical student with a learning difficulty, how it has enhanced their lives, allowing them to learn so much more through the assistance of educational technology. I can’t help but question if it is the technology, or the educational experience, that is negatively affecting aboriginal culture. It also makes me think that there must be a way to use technology to integrate aboriginal culture in a positive manner to help students learn. Thus, I would like my research to focus on how aboriginal values and beliefs are being integrated into the educational curricula and how technology can be used to enhance a student’s educational experience.

Throughout this term my weblog will allow me to connect my research interest to websites, articles, videos and different types of technology that I discover. It will be important to find information regarding aboriginal beliefs and values, the education system in general, and how technology is being used to teach students.

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Using Technology To Preserve A Culture Rather Than Destroying It

Technology can be utilized to preserve a culture rather than destroy it

Perhaps the following statement is too simplistic in nature but I assume that every race, culture and community share the same struggle when it comes to the growing disconnect between its generations.  As technology (ie: internet, computers, web 2.0, social media, etc.) have entered the discussion this divide seems to have increased even more.  Not unlike any other culture or community today’s Aboriginal Youth are being raised in a digital age. Without knowledge or prejudice I assume teachers and elders from Aboriginal communities are having similar problems in engaging and connecting with the youth as their non-Aboriginal counterparts do.  I also understand that there exists a fear that technology (ie: the internet) may in fact eradicate many traditions and cultural values that the elders hold so dear.   Only three weeks into this course I have learned about some of these fears but I hold fast (at this point) to the notion that technology can be used to preserve a culture, not destroy it.

The focus of my weblogs and research will be centered on the assumption that, with respect to Aboriginal youth, technology can be utilized to preserve a culture rather than destroy it.  I intend to find examples, articles, and websites that show this to be true.  It is vital that my research be authentic and not merely from an ethnocentric perspective.  Elders may not share the same passion and enthusiasm for technology as today’s youth do but I feel that if used properly technology can be a valuable tool employed to preserve a culture.

~ Ryan



September 26, 2011   No Comments

Research Topic: Integrating Local Diversity and Globalization in Indigenous Education

In this research, I will try to investigate the significant role of place based learning in Indigenous education and culture. The purpose is to present how place based learning can be used to facilitate an integration of Indigenous cultural diversity into a rapidly changing globalized world, while preserving their community ties. In recent decades, western culture and its economic globalization has been effective in homogenizing Indigenous cultures in different countries. It seems that in this process western education systems have played an effective role in alienation of Indigenous people from their own cultures.

Place based learning, on the other hand, can be used to integrate indigenous culture into traditional education systems through a culturally adapted curriculum that considers a wide range of social, cultural, and economical aspects of Indigenous communities. Instead of standardized in a public education system, indigenous learners have the opportunity to understand the relationship between Indigenous knowledge and knowledge associated with western cultures and mainstream education. Consequently, schools have a crucial part in interconnecting various aspects of Indigenous life (culture, environment,…) to positive features of our globalized era. In this research I will also address some cases presenting effective and efficient examples of such integrations.

September 25, 2011   No Comments